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Wednesday
Sep112013

How to get your CRBA and US Passport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

For all of my steps on how to give birth in Mexico, click this link here.

Sending out the paperwork to get Lyra's CRBA and US Passport.

My American daughter was born in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Once she was born I had to get a Mexican birth certificate (Acta de Nacimiento) from the Civil Registry (Registro Civil) in order to then go to the US Consulate and apply for her American "birth certificate" and US Passport.

I put birth certificate in quotes because a US child born in a foreign country doesn't have a birth certificate, they have a Consular's Report of Birth Aboard, or CRBA. You need a CRBA in order to apply for a US Passport. Luckily, you can apply for both at the same time.

My friend Ali, from Bumfuzzle, was kind enough to share exactly how to go about getting the CRBA and passport in Puerto Vallarta. So, Ali, many thanks for being the pioneer on this. I hope this blog post can help others following the same steps.

Before I begin, please understand that these steps assume the following: that the parents are married and both are American citizens. There are different rules and different steps if you you are not both American, or married, and the consulate can help you with how to proceed if so.

Just need one more passport to make it a complete set of four.

Step 1: Have your baby in Mexico and get their acta de nacimiento.

Step 2: Email the consulate. Kelly Trainor at the US Consulate in Puerto Vallarta is the person you want to contact. Her email is consularagentpvr@prodigy.net.mx. Put the following in the subject line to her: "CRBA and US Passport Needed - And the name of the child." Kelly got back to me within a day or two and provided a very detailed list of the things we'd need to bring in order to get a CRBA and passport for Lyra.

Step 3: It's gonna be a pain in the butt. I naively thought that we'd just show up with some passport photos and $200, fill out some forms, and POOF, Lyra's passport would be in the works. Not so. The US government really wants to make sure that they are giving a passport and CRBA to an actual American citizen. They are going to need proof that you were pregnant. Yes, photos of your baby bump. They will want receipts from your prenatal, labor, and postnatal expenses. They will check out your ultrasound photos and ask that your OBGYN write a letter stating that you were in their care, that you actually gave birth to the child, and when, where, etc.

While a pain, it makes sense. They want to make sure that the child you are presenting to the Consulate really is who you say it is. I get it. Just warning you in advance. So keep all receipts. Keep all photos. Keep everything until you have your kid's CRBA and US passport in your hot little hands.

Step 4: When you get your baby's passport photo in Mexico, make sure you tell them that it is for a US passport. The sizes needed for a Mexican passport are different.

Step 5: Once you have acquired all the necessary documents (AND COPIES OF THEM ALL), email Kelly Trainor again and ask for an appointment. 

Save the cab fare and ride the Kombi to Nuevo Vallarta instead.

Step 6: Getting there. The US Consulate in Puerto Vallarta is located in Nuevo Vallarta. It's in the Paradise Village Shopping Center, Paseo de los Cocoteros 85 Sur, 2nd floor, Floor L7. Phone: 322-222-0069. 

From La Cruz, you can take a Kombi that stops at the entrace to the road to Nuevo Vallarta. Then hop off and grab a cab for the rest of the short distance or try to figure out the Kombis in. We just grabbed a cab from that point.  

Step 7: Do all the paperwork, hand them some money, and breathe a huge sigh of relief that your paperwork journey is almost complete. You'll need to go back in about a month when the CRBA and US Passport arrive. If they contact you to say they are ready for pick up make sure you ask if BOTH items have arrived as the CRBA and US Passport are shipped from different places in the States.

Step 8: Go down to the food court and let your older kids play on the gigantic play structure.

Rejoice.

Cora passed out on the Kombi after a long day at the US Consulate in Puerto Vallarta.Step 9: You can grab a Kombi right outside the entrance to the shopping mall. Just make sure it is going to Walmart in Nuevo Vallarta (if you are going north to La Cruz.) If you are going south into Puerto Vallarta, just make sure it is going to Vallarta. If headed towards La Cruz, you'll need to get off the Kombi at the Walmart in Nuevo Vallarta and then hop on the Kombi or ATM going north to La Cruz. 

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Mexican Passport?

At this point, we have not chosen to get a Mexican passport for Lyra. We may in the future but she has no need for it now.

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Social Security Card?

In order to get your child's social security card, you will need to apply in person at a social security office in the states. You'll need to bring their CRBA with you, but other than that the application process is quite painless. 

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If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll answer it as soon as I can.

Reader Comments (4)

It sounds as complex as getting our daughter who was adopted at 4 from Ethiopia an US citizenship. It also seems that someone could still fake all those requirements, if the person really wanted to... I'm surprised that they are not requiring DNA testing. It would be a much more precise way to accomplish the same thing, and, I would think, much easier for the parents to produce.

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Hmmm, Angela, maybe that is where they will head in the future.

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Thanks Charlotte! Interesting stuff...

September 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChani

Once again, thank you so much for this information! It's a lifesaver for people like myself, who always seem to be one copy short. Grrr, paperwork.

September 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbettiedelmar

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